Friday, August 30, 2013
Notebook: Football lures key visitors
By Dave Telep
Each week, Dave Telep empties his notebook and tosses everything he’s got into one file. We call it, hold your breath … Notebook. Where’s the No. 1 package in high school basketball this weekend? What are the champs up to? Read on.
The national champions are going big this weekend. Big as in big men on campus. During the spring and summer, the red carpet was rolled out for Rick Pitino. This weekend, it’s his turn to roll it out for a pair of prospects.
Louisville’s top interior target, for a long time, has been former Indiana pledge Trey Lyles. The big man makes his return visit, this time officially, alongside center Chinanu Onuaku, brother of former Syracuse big man Arinze.
If you’re recruiting against the Cardinals, you’ve got a heightened sense of awareness here. The Cardinals football team is talented, the environment will be live, and the Cardinals are armed with that national title hardware. They had players selected in both rounds of the NBA draft in June.
Big package hits the road
The Baylor Bears have the most to gain this weekend. The proposed package deal of Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor hits the visit trail for the first time this month and they’ll do it together. The Bears have the nation’s top overall player and No. 1 point guard on campus. How’d they do it? Jared Nuness, a Baylor staffer, is related to Jones and that helped. The competition is stiff and there’s virtually no chance for a commitment this weekend, as the pair will take other visits.
A&M is visit weekend to keep an eye on
Will he or won’t he? If it meant landing a few recruits would Johnny Manziel sign an autograph for a couple of key targets? We’ll find out in a few weeks when the Alabama Crimson Tide roll into College Station to play the Aggies. As one might imagine, weekends of this magnitude bring out a host of players who want to take visits.
Sometimes we forget what it means to host players on a weekend like this one in mid-September. I’ve always been on the school of thought that you can do a better job with a lesser number of targets. Others want as many kids on campus for the experience. For the time being, it seems Texas A&M is going quality over quantity.
Point guard Alex Robinson is on the visit docket. He’ll be accompanied by center Elbert Robinson. The other main Aggies target is Justise Winslow, but we haven’t heard his visit list yet and he’s also expected to announce another round of cuts in the near future.
Gamecocks kick off the season with a prospect party
Frank Martin wasn’t messing on Thursday night. His South Carolina Gamecocks hosted North Carolina in the border battle. Why not invite some N.C. kids to the Palmetto State for an evening? Why not invite the best player in North Carolina?
Sophomore Harry Giles, the best prospect in the Class of 2016, headlined a serious pack of prospects. Forward TeMarcus Blanton, Dante Buford, guards P.J. Dozer, Marcus Stroman and sophomore Seventh Woods were on campus. You’d have to go back to the days when Bobby Cremins and George Felton took official visits to have a better collection of players than that.
Speaking of Buford, he’ll knock out his five official visits in consecutive weekends beginning Sept. 4. First up is Oklahoma, followed by Miami, Oklahoma State, Southern Cal and South Carolina.
Enfield called Johnson on Day One
The moment you get your head coaching job, there’s a precious window to pick up the phone and share the news. Southern Cal coach Andy Enfield did just that, from the office of his athletic director, once he was named coach. Enfield called senior Stanley Johnson. Enfield then hired Tony Bland and Jason Hart as assistants, two guys Johnson knows well. However, it’s Arizona’s Sean Miller and Kentucky’s John Calipari with whom Johnson said he has the best relationships.
Johnson discussed the trend of kids from his high school, Mater Dei, transferring in college. All he could say was it won’t happen to him. “I will not be a transfer.”
- From the “we didn’t see this coming” files. Small forward Boubacar Moungoro, a high school senior out of Florida, signed with a Spanish pro team on Thursday. In July, he was slow to produce a list. Now we know why.
- Junior center Elijah Thomas has Duke talking to him. Minnesota, Baylor, Louisville, Alabama, SMU, Ohio State, Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Georgetown, Arizona and Florida comprise a lengthy early list.
- Rashad Vaughn had no interest in lending insight into his recruiting list. He’s guarding that secret big time. We were able to pull out of Vaughn one school that will definitely receive an official visit: Baylor. Vaughn said they’ve been on him too long not to get one. Look for him to give the Bears, Iowa State, Minnesota, Kentucky and North Carolina long looks.
- We asked Devin Booker what was the hardest aspect of trimming his list? “You develop a relationship [with the coaches],” Booker said. “Saying ‘no’ is very difficult.” In August, a “no” is the best thing a coach can here if it’s not “yes.” Booker said of all the head coaches he felt like his best relationships were with Tom Izzo and John Calipari.
- Canadian forward Chris Egi was, at one time, a member of the Class of 2015. Now, he’s back in the 2014 class and has official visits scheduled. Egi will take trips to Vanderbilt, Washington, Stanford and Harvard. Former Harvard assistant Yanni Hufnagel is now at Vanderbilt and the trail to Nashville was blazed by him.
- Watch what’s happening in Iowa this weekend. It’s the Hawkeyes shot at point guard Tyler Ulis. The Chicago standout likes Iowa and it has a need. Kentucky, Southern Cal and Michigan State have their fingers crossed.
- Clemson’s football game has eyeballs on it and recruits in the stands. The parade of unofficials reads: F Donte Grantham, G Gabe DeVoe, juniors Marcus Sheffield, Luke Maye, Tevin Mack and Karl Gamble; sophomores Seventh Woods, Jordan Bruner, Quentez Cephus, Ty Mann and Brevin Galloway.